Novel therapeutic options for cachexia and sarcopenia

Alessio Molfino, Maria Ida Amabile, Filippo Rossi Fanelli, Maurizio Muscaritoli
Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy 2016, 16 (10): 1239-44

INTRODUCTION: Cachexia and sarcopenia are conditions phenotypically characterized by muscle loss and represent a factor of poor prognosis, increasing patients' morbidity and mortality. Cachectic and sarcopenic patients often suffer from low quality of life, presenting lower muscle strength and appetite loss, which makes research on novel treatment strategies to ameliorate clinical response including patient's symptoms, the objective of scientific interest.

AREAS COVERED: This article covers recent developments in the area of cachexia and sarcopenia treatment and therapeutic interventions, targeting central nervous system involvement, key inflammatory and muscle-specific metabolic pathways.

EXPERT OPINION: A number of promising agents have being evaluated, such as enobosarm, a selected androgen receptor modulator, and anamorelin, a ghrelin agonist which have been recently studied in phase III trials. These and other agents (i.e., infliximab, tocilizumab, MABp1, bimagrumab) have shown significant impact on reversal of skeletal muscle loss, but limited effect on physical function. In the last few years advancement in the number and type of potential treatments for cachexia and sarcopenia have been obtained and we have now available more data on measurable effects of several drugs on patients' nutritional and metabolic parameters and outcomes.

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